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The Takeaway

Rahm breaks through at Farmers

by Mo Yoshimoto
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

2017 Farmers Insurance Open

La Jolla, California

 

 

Making his tournament debut, World No. 137 Jon Rahm hung up a 7-under-par 35-30=65 in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open to post 13-under 275, good for a 3-shot win over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan, becoming the first, first-time winner at the Farmers since Jay Don Blake in 1991, and the youngest winner of the event at age 22 years, 2 months and 19 days, eclipsing 1993 winner Phil Mickelson (22 years, 8 months and 5 days).

 

The Spaniard breaks through in his 17th career PGA TOUR start, 12th as a pro. In his last event before joining the paid ranks, he was the only amateur (of 11) to make the cut at the 116th U.S. Open at Oakmont CC last June, where he finished T23.

 

The very next week, making his pro (and tourney) debut on a sponsor invite at the Quicken Loans National (Congressional CC), he was the 18-hole leader and 36-hole co-leader, eventually finishing T3. Three starts later, he bagged a T2 at the RBC Canadian Open, also on a sponsor invite, earning and accepting Special Temporary Membership afterwards for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

 

Rahm ended last season with two more top 25s and a missed cut at the Wyndham Championship, but became fully exempt for 2016-17 after finishing inside the top 125 in non-member FedExCup (FEC) points.

 

This was his fifth start of the season, third top 25, but first top 10. His previous best was a pair of T15s – in back-to-back starts – at the Safeway Open in Napa and the Shriners in Las Vegas. The ASU alum (2016), who went straight from college to the PGA TOUR, arrived off a T34 at last week’s 3-course CareerBuilder Challenge (71-66-70-72).

 

 

This was the 65th playing of the 2-course Farmers in La Jolla, California, and 50th straight edition where the 7,698-yard par-72 (36-36) South Course at Torrey Pines served as host.

 

After opening in 72-69-69, the 22-year-old began on 6-under (T13), three back of 54-hole co-leaders Patrick Rodgers and Brandt Snedeker.

 

Playing out of the fifth-to-last threesome, he kicked off with a 3-putt bogey at the par-4 first (from 41'10"), his only 3-putt of the tourney, but rebounded for birdie-2 at three and a 12-footer for birdie at the par-4 fifth.

 

Rahm circled another 2 at 11 (from 13'4") and coaxed in an 18’7” eagle at the par-5 13th, joining a three-way T1, the first time he led or co-led in the tournament.

 

At 14, 15 and 16, he steadied routine pars and then cozied his 145-yard approach to the par-4 17th to 5’0” for his fourth (and final) birdie, now the sole leader on 11-under.

 

Rahm was hardly done with his charge and saved the best for last. At the par-5 home hole, which was playing 536 yards in the finale, he was over the green on the back fringe in two, 60’8” from the hole, and improbably canned it (using the flat stick) for his second eagle-3 on the back side and an inward 30.

 

His closing 65 was the low round of the day (by one) and tied the low round of the week with 18-hole leader Justin Rose, who shot 65 on the 7,258-yard North Course. Rahm’s 65 however, was the best lap of the three rounds played on the South Course.

 

 

Rahm collects 500 FEC points for the victory and vaults 61 places to a career-best 6th in the standings. He also earns a host of invites, including to this year’s Masters and the 2018 SBS Tournament of Champions.

 

Top 10 in FEC standings (points):

 

1. Justin Thomas (1,614)

2. Hideki Matsuyama (1,197)

3. Pat Perez (858)

4. Brendan Steele (781)

5. Mackenzie Hughes (648)

6. Jon Rahm (625)

7. Hudson Swafford (610)

8. Charles Howell III (584)

9. Rod Pampling (560)

10. Cody Gribble (481)

 

 

Note: No. 9 Russell Knox (idle) and No. 10 Adam Hadwin (T49) dropped out of the top 10 to 11th, and 13th, respectively.

 

 

With a Strength of Field rating of 400, Rahm banked 54.00 world-ranking points, catapulting 91 places from No. 137 to a career-best 46th in the Official World Golf Ranking. The Top 10 in OWGR:

 

1. Jason Day (CUT)

2. Rory McIlroy (idle)

3. Dustin Johnson (CUT)

4. Henrik Stenson (idle)

5. Jordan Spieth (idle)

6. Hideki Matsuyama (T33)

7. Adam Scott (idle)

8. Justin Thomas (idle)

9. Patrick Reed (idle)

10. Alex Noren (T21 on Euro Tour)

 

 

Note: Matsuyama moved from No. 6 to 5, bumping Spieth to 6th.

 

 

In total, 10 of the top 25 in OWGR were in the field. ONE finished in the top 10:

 

No. 1 Jason Day (CUT); No. 3 Dustin Johnson (CUT); No. 6 Hideki Matsuyama (T33); No. 13 Justin Rose (T4); No. 14 Rickie Fowler (CUT); No. 16 Paul Casey (T28); No. 19 Brooks Koepka (CUT); No. 21 Jimmy Walker (CUT); No. 22 Phil Mickelson (T14); No. 25 Emiliano Grillo (T33).

 

 

Runners-Up:

 

 

Charles Howell III: The World No. 94 styled a 4-under-par 34-34=68 to wrap on 10-under 278, up 11 places into a two-way T2, three shy. It’s his THIRD runner-up finish here (2005, 2007), SEVENTH top 10 in 15 appearances and 10th top 25. The 37-year-old now has 15 career runners-up in 482 career starts.

 

Coincidentally, his runner-up in 2007 was also the last year he won on TOUR, claiming his second title at nearby Riviera CC (Nissan Open).

 

After opening in 67-74-69, the Augusta, Georgia, native began three shots back on 6-under (T13), the fourth straight start he's been in the top 15 thru 54 holes. He circled birdie-3s at Nos. 1 and 5, both from inside of 10 feet, before squaring a lone bogey-4 at 11 (failed scramble), and then dropped a 64'11" bomb from the fringe at 13 for eagle-3.

 

CH3 wrapped with an up-and-down birdie from 6'11" at the par-5 18th for a stellar 3.869 SG: Putting in R4. This is his third top 10 of the season in seven starts and sixth straight top 15. His previous best was T7 at the OHL Classic.

 

 

C.T. Pan: The PGA TOUR rookie and World No. 211 crafted a 2-under-par 35-35=70 to close out his tourney debut on 10-under 278, up one spot into a two-way T2, three adrift of fellow first-timer Rahm.

 

The 25-year-old was making his 13th career start (10th pro) and eighth start of the season. It's a new career mark, eclipsing T6 at the 2016-17 RSM Classic, where he was T2 thru 54 holes but closed in 1-over 71.

 

After opening in 70-69-69, the University of Washington alum began in a two-way T3 on 8-under, one back. Playing out of the penultimate threesome, he opened with six straight pars before squaring a lone bogey-5 at seven (3-putt from 33'10"). Pan bounced back with a 3-birdie train on holes 8-10, including a 21-footer at the par-4 10th that briefly gave him the top spot on 10-under.

 

He stalled out from there however, ending his lap with eight consecutive pars, lowlighted by a 3-putt par at the par-5 13th. The Taiwanese leaps 101 spots to a career-high 110th in OWGR.

 

 

Five players finished one stroke further back on 9-under 279 led by 18- and 36-hole leader Justin Rose (65-71-73-70). For Rose, he drops to 2-for-12 as the 36-hole leader/co-leader. His last (of seven) wins on TOUR was 92 weeks ago at the 2015 Zurich Classic, but did post his second straight top 5 (solo 2nd, Sony).

 

The other four were Keegan Bradley (69-69-74-67), Pat Perez (68-74-67-70), Tony Finau (73-68-67-71), and Patrick Rodgers (68-72-67-72).  For Rodgers, this was his first 54-hole lead/co-lead and first lead on TOUR after ANY round in his 62nd career start (59 pro).

 

 

Rahm’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 73 players):

 

Note: No ShotLink on the North Course so strokes gained stats are not listed below.

 

 

Eagles: 3 (1st)

Birdies: 14 (T44)

Bogeys: 7 (T3)

 

Par-3 Scoring: 3.00 (T27)

Par-4 Scoring: 3.95 (T6)

Par-5 Scoring: 4.31 (T2)

 

Driving Accuracy: 34/56 (T19) at 60.71 percent

Greens in Regulation: 53/72 (T12) at 73.61 percent

Putts per GIR: 1.717 (T10)

Total Putts: 114 (T9); by round: 32-24-30-28

Scrambling: 13/19 (14th) at 68.42 percent

 

 

Yahoo! Low Rounds:

 

North Course: (NC)

South Course: (SC)

 

Note: Rounds 3 and 4 were each played on the South.

 

 

R1: Justin Rose (65- NC)

R2: Jonathan Randolph (67- NC); Kyle Reifers (67- NC); Derek Fathauer (67- SC)

R3: Pat Perez (67); Tony Finau (67); Patrick Rodgers (67)

R4: Jon Rahm (65)

 

 

Bogey-free Rounds:

 

R1: Beau Hossler (67- NC); Gary Woodland (67- NC)

R2: Tony Finau (68- NC); J.J. Spaun (69- SC); Lucas Glover (70- NC); Jhonattan Vegas (70- SC)

R3: Patrick Rodgers (67); Paul Casey (68)

R4: J.B. Holmes (68)

 

 

Draw:

 

With the 2-course rotation for the first two rounds, South Course (SC) and North Course (NC), there wasn’t a traditional draw this week, so we’ll look at the course rotation for the top-3 finishers.

 

36-hole CUT: 79 pros from a field of 156 pros at even-par 144

54-hole CUT: 73 pros at 1-over 217

 

 

Jon Rahm (Won): SC-NC

 

Charles Howell III (T2): NC-SC

 

C.T. Pan (T2): SC-NC

 

 

Note: Rahm is the SEVENTH straight winner to begin on the South Course. 2010 champ Ben Crane was the last to begin on the North Course.

 

 

Did You Know?

 

 

FIVE players put all four rounds in the RED: C.T. Pan: 70-69-69-70 (T2); Ollie Schniederjans: 69-69-71-71 (T9); Robert Streb: 68-71-70-71 (T9); Francesco Molinari: 71-70-69-71 (T14); Michael Thompson: 71-71-71-68 (T14).

 

 

It’s been 29 events since the last pre-tourney odds-favorite(s) won. Jordan Spieth is the most recent, winning the 2016 DEAN & DELUCA as a 6/1 outright.

 

In fact, Spieth owns the last two wins in this regard, claiming the 2016 Hyundai TOC as a 4/1 favorite.

 

 

 

Jason Day: The World No. 1 was a 9/1 co-fave and missed the cut by three shots on 3-over 73-74=147. It’s his second straight MC in the event after previously connecting three consecutive top 10s, including T2 in 2014 and P1 in 2015.

 

Last year (as defending champ), Day got a pass for battling flu-like symptoms since the Friday before the tournament, but eventually MC’d by three (72-74) as a 13/2 favorite. He arrived this week off T12 at the SBS TOC, his only start in the last 21 weeks, and missed his first cut since this same tourney last year.

 

Dustin Johnson: The World No. 3 was the other 9/1 co-fave and missed the cut by two shots on 2-over 72-74=76. It’s his third MC in nine FIOs with T3 in 2011 his only top-10 finish.

 

It’s the 32-year-old’s first MC since the 2016 PGA Championship and arrived off a T6 (SBS TOC) and a T2 last week in Abu Dhabi (Euro Tour).

 

 

Note: Three of the top 4 on TOUR in CONSECUTIVE CUTS MADE ended their streaks this week. Along with Day (19), Daniel Berger (21) and last week’s winner Hudson Swafford (19), each missed the cut as well. Adam Scott, idle this week, is the TOUR leader with 22.

 

 

 

Defending Champ:

 

 

Brandt Snedeker: The defending and two-time champ began the finale sharing the lead with Rodgers, one clear of two players, including Finau, who completed the final threesome. He back-pedaled to a 1-over-par 37-36=73 and dropped eight places into a five-way T9 on 8-under 280, five adrift.

 

After opening in progressively worse laps of 68-69-70, but hitting more greens in regulation each day, 10, 13 and 15, respectively, the World No. 28 mustered just nine, losing 2.257 strokes approaching-the-green. He went 5-for-5 in sand saves, but failed to get up-and-down four other times, outbalancing three birdies, including a hole out from a greenside bunker for birdie-2 at 11.

 

On the bright side, this is his SEVENTH top 10 in 11 appearances, but drops to 3-for-9 in his career as a 54-hole leader/co-leader, last converting at the 2013 RBC Canadian Open. More recently, he was a 54-hole leader/co-leader two times last season (Sony, RBC Canadian Open) but lost both despite closing with sub-par rounds.

 

Snedeker joined 3-time winner Phil Mickelson (T14) as the only past champs to finish the tourney. 2015 champ Jason Day, 2014 champ Scott Stallings, 7-time champ Tiger Woods, 2010 champ Ben Crane, and 2009 champ Nick Watney all missed the 36-hole cut. 

 

 

First-timers and/or Rookies:

 

 

First-timers at FIO: 31

Top-10 finishes: 3

 

TOUR rookies: 22

Top-10 finishes: 4

 

 

Rahm obviously tops the list of debutants with Pan taking top rookie honors. Rahm is a first-time member but not a rookie (seven starts in 2016).

 

Two other notables deserve mention here:

 

J.J. Spaun: The rookie and World No. 185 carved out a 2-under-par 34-36=70 to finish up his tourney debut on 8-under 280, up four spots into a five-way T9, five back. The SDSU alum (2012) was making his 10th career start on TOUR, eighth this season, and this is his first top-25 finish, eclipsing a previous-best T28 at the OHL Classic back in November.

 

After opening in 72-69-69, he began R4 on 6-under (T13), three back. Playing out of the fifth-to-last threesome with eventual champ Rahm, he kicked off with bogey-5 at the first (failed sand save) but played his next 16 holes in blemish-free 5-under. Unfortunately, he spun his third to the par-5 18th back into the water, eventually eating double bogey-7.

 

Ollie Schniederjans: The rookie and World No. 194 patched together a 1-under-par 36-35=71 for a 72-hole total of 8-under 280, down four places into a five-way T9. He betters a T49 here last year (as a non-member on a sponsor invite). This was the 23-year-old’s seventh start of the season and his second top 10, joining a career-best T6 at The RSM Classic. He led the field in par-4 scoring (3.85).

 

After opening in 69-69-71, the Dallas native began R4 in an eight-way T5, two adrift. He circled three birdies against two bogeys on eight (of 14) fairways and 14 greens in regulation, registering 1.786 putts per GIR and -1.125 SG: Putting.

 

The Georgia Tech alum missed seven scoring chances from inside of 13 feet in R4, three from inside of seven feet, lowlighted by a whiff from 44 inches for birdie at the par-5 18th.

 

 

Season Trends:

 

 

EIGHT of 11 winners this season are in their 20s, including the last FIVE:

 

     

 

       

Event #

   

 

Win #

Age

       

1

 

Safeway

Steele

2

33

Oct.

153rd start

   

2

 

CIMB

Thomas

2

23

Oct.

71st start

 

Note: Won as defending champ

3

WGC

HSBC

Matsuyama

3

24

Oct.

85th start

   

4

 

Sanderson

Gribble

1

26

Oct.

8th (2nd as member)

Note: Won in tourney debut

5

 

Shriners

Pampling

3

47

Nov.

342nd start

   

6

OHL

Classic

Perez

2

40

Nov.

379th start

 

Note: Won on Major Medical

7

RSM

Classic

Hughes

1

25

Nov.

9th (5th as member)

Note: Won in tourney debut

8

SBS

TOC

Thomas x2

3

23

Jan.

73rd (69 pro)

   

9

 

Sony

Thomas x3

4

23

Jan.

74th (70 pro)

 

Note: WIRE-TO-WIRE

10

 

CareerBuilder

Swafford

1

29

Jan.

93rd (92 pro)

   

11

 

Farmers

Rahm

1

22

Jan.

17th (12 pro)

 

Note: Won in tourney debut

 

 

NINE of the first 11 winners have emerged out of the FINAL group on Sunday. Rahm joins Brendan Steele as the two outliers, with Steele also shooting 7-under 65 (to come from four back) to capture the season-opening Safeway out of the third-to-last threesome.

 

54-hole leaders/co-leaders are now 4-for-11 converting. Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), and Justin Thomas x2 (SBS TOC and Sony) have been successful.

 

Patton Kizzire (Safeway), Anirban Lahiri (CIMB), Luke List, Chris Kirk (Sanderson Farms), Lucas Glover (Shriners), Gary Woodland (OHL), Adam Hadwin (CBC) and now Rodgers and Snedeker (FIO), all failed to convert.

 

NOTE: Matsuyama also won the unofficial Hero World Challenge as the 54-hole leader.

 

 

Up Next:

 

 

Before returning in two weeks for the AT&T Pebble Beach and Genesis (formerly Northern Trust) Open, the TOUR departs California and heads to Scottsdale, Arizona, for this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open at the 7,266-yard par-71 (35-36) TPC Scottsdale.

 

Hideki Matsuyama won last year’s edition as World No. 19 in a four-hole playoff with top-ranked Rickie Fowler (then World No. 4).

 

The Japanese star co-led after 18 holes and erased a three-stroke deficit in the final round with 67 to match Fowler (also an 18-hole co-leader) on 14-under 270 and then won with par on the fourth hole of sudden death (par-4 17th).

 

Stay tuned to this space for all the latest player news and analysis as the TOUR plays its 12th tournament of the season (of 47).